Wednesday 10th May 2017
Adrian Carrol, Patient Representative, tells us who he is cycling for and why he and his nephew, Jonathan Carrol, feel it's so important to raise awareness.
I’m very happy to be cycling with the Heart Valve Voice team as a patient ambassador along side my nephew Jonathan. Our family is very committed to raising awareness of heart valve disease because it is extremely important to us as we sadly lost my grandmother Lydia to the disease. I will be riding not only to raise awareness and encourage people to have themselves checked regularly but also to remember my nan.
My grandmother was a wonderful, independent 92 year old who was an avid gardener and dedicated to her family. She had found herself getting breathless and slowing down but blamed it all on being in her nineties. It wasn’t until she went in for a scheduled minor operation that they found her heart murmur signalling that she was suffering from a condition known as aortic stenosis. She ended up living with the disease for quite some time until I reached out to my friend and Consultant Cardiologist Mark Hall from Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital who intervened. Soon after Dr Hall stepped in, she received a valve replacement, but because of how long she had been living with the condition, it was simply too late. A standard procedure turned into a high risk procedure leading to her only making it a few days.
The loss of my grandmother was what inspired our family to support Heart Valve Voice’s awareness programme. Their work is essential in helping to educate the public about the importance of being tested for the disease if they are experiencing symptoms, however minor they think they are. For me, I want to make sure that the right person sees the right healthcare professional at the right time so that heart valve disease is treated sooner rather than later. I also think it’s important to not only educate the public but also get the attention of doctors and surgeons to hear what their patients are saying about their symptoms and give them a simple stethoscope exam.
This bike ride will not only be a great adventure for both me and my nephew Jonathan who is riding with us but also an excellent opportunity to use Lydia’s story to spread the word about heart valve disease.